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Green Party Senator calls on IRFU to allow rugby-playing schools reach 'the promised land'

Green Party Senator Vincent Martin wants the final of Leinster Schools Senior Cup to take place.

PastedImage-32707 Green Party Senator Vincent Martin. Source: Oireachtas.ie

A GREEN PARTY Senator has told the Seanad that the rugby-playing students of two schools should be given the chance to “get to the promised land” and play in a provincial final. 

Newbridge College and Clongowes Wood College had reached the final of the Leinster Schools Senior Challenge Cup in March but the match was called off due to Covid-19. 

The tournament is run by the Leinster Branch of the IRFU and features teams of male students from schools across the province. 

The IRFU has paused its amatuer and professional matches since the emergence of Covid-19 in Ireland. Leinster, Munster, Connacht and Leinster set to resume playing matches in three weeks time. 

But speaking in the Seanad yesterday, Senator Vincent P Martin implored the IRFU to find a way for the schools final to take place. 

He said this should happen before “those kids/young adults go all over to parts of the world.”

Martin, who unsuccessfully ran for the Dáil in the Kildare North constituency, said the “all-Kildare derby” would be “such a spectacle”. 

“I want to briefly discuss the Leinster Schools Senior Cup rugby finals 2020,” Martin told the Seanad.

The children, young adults, give six years of their life. And we had the spectacle of a first ever Kildare final, Clongowes Wood and Newbridge College, and Newbridge only recently celebrated its 50th anniversary since they last won it in 1970.

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“Now those kids, young adults, will be going all over to different parts of the world and then college, hopefully taking up their places, but there’s a window of opportunity for about one more month.

“Is there any way at all the IRFU could, even if it means there’s very few people present, to give those people such a well-deserved a day in the sun? And have this all-KIldare derby, it’d be such a spectacle,” he added. 

Martin, who is the brother of Green Party Minister Catherine Martin and was one of the Taoiseach’s 11 nominees to the Seanad, went on to say that the game would be “the highlight of their young sporting lives”.

He said the rugby final had been “ripped away from them” by the coronavirus:

It means so much to those young children, they’re not young children they’re adults now, but they started for six years to get to the promised land and have their moment in the sun, and the pandemic has ripped it away from them.

“Maybe it’s late, but it’s not too late,” he added. 

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Rónán Duffy

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